The G-SHOCK “Square” is the most iconic model in their line. Even digital watch muggles instantly recognize it as a Casio. Since its introduction in 1983, the Japanese manufacturer has introduced more versions of the Square than ice cream flavors at Baskin Robbins (by a factor of 10). The GW-S5600-1JF is a significant evolution of the classic Square – that isn’t available anywhere outside of Japan. Domo arrigato Mr. Roboto? Actually, thank you eBay for making the G-SHOCK GW-S5600-1JF available to G-SHOCK buyers who favor high tech materials.
I have a few collectibles (e.g., my Spyderco Domino knife) that incorporate carbon fiber and titanium. When I learned that Casio created a G-SHOCK Square incorporating BOTH materials, I was all in. The first thing that jumps out when unboxing the GW-S5600-1JF: the Carbon Fiber Insert Construction proclamation running the length of the strap. Just in case you missed it, Casio printed another “Carbon Fiber” label at the top of the strap.
Clear-coated carbon fiber is a big thing in the automotive world. Tuners use the treated material to shave ounces off “high-performance cars” with huge, heavy audio systems (for example). The combo doesn’t shiny-up cars as much as watch bands, we now learn. It also makes for a stiff feeling watch strap. But once you’re buckled in, it’s Recaro comfortable. Did I mention that the GW-S5600-1JF is shiny? The watch exudes a gel-coat-like sheen – case, bezel and strap. On the positive side, the clear coat makes the carbon fiber weave glisten. On the negative side, the clear coat makes the carbon fiber weave glisten.
The G-SHOCK’s “plasticky” look’s grown on me – in the same way that the cars in Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift seemed stupid right until they didn’t. There’s something about the gleaming, over-labelled G-SHOCK GW-S5600-1JF that’s “just right” for a JDM watch. Less flashy but equally important, the GW-S5600-1JF is a titanium timepiece. The caseback, screws, buttons and buckle are all fashioned from atomic element number 22. The resulting watch weighs-in at a scant 44 grams.
For comparison, the G-SHOCK Power Trio tips the scales between 51.7 (GW-M5610 Square) and 93 grams (GW-9400 Rangeman). My Rolex Yachtmaster and G-SHOCK Frogman weigh 139 grams and 118 grams, respectively.
If you want your G-SHOCK to trip the light fantastic, the GW-S5600-1JF’s playing your tune. The GW-S5600-1JF provides the typical slate of G-SHOCK chronograph functions found in Squares. The “set-and-forget” model also includes the universally-desirable Tough Solar (battery charging) and Multi-Band 6 (atomic clock synchronization). It also keeps track of world time in 48 cities in 29 time zones.
I’ve heard complaints that the four buttons on the 5600 series are on the stiff side compared to other Squares. Personally, I don’t have an issue pushing buttons on this watch (nor on folks who engage in debate on the subject). If you’ve seen one Square, you’ve seen them all. Or not. There’s quite a nuanced variety of models within this G-SHOCKs genre. Some offer nothing more than different paint jobs by pop singers turned “collab artist.” The GW-S5600-1JF is more than a cosmetic makeover; it’s a Superleggera G-SQUARE. If you’re looking for a glossy G-SHOCK that weighs less than ten nickels, save your pennies for this one.